Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

See other formats

xii                             RANGE OF HYPQQ&OJf                          37 I
were mistaken by that observer for teeth. It is curious that the
name is really appropriate in spite of this mistake, though of
course it would be so to all the Ziphioids. In more than one
feature this genus comes nearest of all the ZIpliiinae to Physeter.
Its enormous maxillary crests are paralleled in that Whale; but
in Hyperoodon their great thickness contrasts with the thinness
of those of the Cachalot. The correspondence in the attachment
of a rib to its vertebra by both heads is noteworthy. It is
remarkable that in this particular Hyperoodon is more like
Pkyseter than the supposed nearest ally of the latter-K^gia.
Of this genus two species are known. The best known IB the
common northern JFf. r^stratum, (with many aliases) ; the second
species from, the southern hemisphere, JET, plan if-rows, is only
known from a single water- and pebble-worn skull. Us identifica-
tion, however, depends upon the known accuracy of the late Sir
William Flower.
The northern species (Hyperoodon rostral uin) has often been
recorded upon our own coasts; the first record of the stranding of
this Whale was in the year 171*7. In that year an example was
found at Maldon, in Essex. Ijike the Beluga,, JFTyperoodon rostratuwi
gets lighter in colour with advancing years. The young are
black; the old animals pale brown with some white about them.
The under surface, however,, is always greyish white. The length
of this Whale reaches to at any rate 3 0 feet. But John Hunter
had a specimen which he believed to be 40. feet in length,
The specimen, however, consisted only of a skull, so that error
might have crept in. It has already been mentioned that the old
males have enormous maxillary crests. According to M. Bouvier,
who has lately made an exhaustive examination of the anatomy
of this Whale,1 the females occasionally exhibit the same crests,
which are thus presumably of the nature of spurs sometimes seen
in old females among the Gallinaceous birds. The number of
grooves upon the throat is in dispute in this Whale as in Ziphins.
One pair is the usual allowance; but Kiikenthal found four in
some embryos studied by him. Attention has already been called
to the voice of Ziphioid Whales, ffyperoodon neither ** lows " nor
** bellows/* but ** sobs **! Myp^roodon rostira&Mm is a gregaiiatus
Whale, going about in herds, or '* gams" as they should techni-
cally be termed, of four to ten or even fifteen* TMs Whale
1 Aw*. W, JW*fc (7}, adui.